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We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Why We Get the Facts Wrong, Even in the Information Age

September 30, 2012, 5:45 PM

What's the Latest Development?

One might think that given the ease of accessing encyclopedic knowledge at the tap of a smartphone app, all the world's true and accurate facts would naturally rise to the top. One would be wrong. "Despite our unprecedented ability to rapidly learn new things and crowdfix mistakes, Knowledge and its twin sister Error continue to propagate in complex and intriguing ways," says Samuel Arbesman, an applied mathematician and network scientist. Despite modern communication technology, "newer knowledge does not spread as fast as it should and weaves its way unevenly throughout society."

What's the Big Idea?

The problem of lingering misinformation goes beyond Fox News, says Arbesman: "Entire fields of science invest time, money, and other resources recapitulating the findings of others due to their ignorance of other fields' advances." But how can misinformation remain so rampant when the facts are more available than ever? Some of the problem is explained by the complexity of social networks as well as cognitive quirks that make each of us predisposed to either accept or reject new information quite independently of whether or not it is true.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com



Why We Get the Facts Wrong,...

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